We return to Tokyo this coming Wednesday for a small, yet very noteworthy, Japanese card. It's not a card stacked with big bouts, but it is one featuring a number of touted prospects, and a former OPBF champion.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Shu Utsuki (5-0, 4) look to extend his perfect record with what should, on paper, be a very easy win over Thai visitor Somphot Seesa (4-2, 4). The talented Utsuki is likely to be in the hunt for titles in 2020 and this appears to be little more than a tick over fight for the talented 25 year old, who has already found himself into the JBC and OPBF rankings. Seesa has been stopped in 2 other visits to Japan and it'd be a shock to see him survive here.
In a major supporting bout former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-4-2, 5) takes on Akio Furutani (7-4, 3). Since winning the OPBF title in June 2017, with a split decision win against Richard Claveras, we've seen Nakayama go 1-2-1 Nakayama and he really needs a confidence building win here. Furutani has scored 3 wins in a row, since losing in the 2018 Rookie of the Year tournament bout to Yoshiki Minato, but this is a big step up for him.
The most notable of the debutants on this card is Yudai Shigeoka (0-0), the older brother of Ginjiro Shigeoka. The elder of the Shigeoka brothers is tipped for major success, though begins his career in a pretty unspectacular match up as he takes on Thai foe Manop Audomphanawari (3-2, 3). As an amateur Shigeoka was tipped as being a potential Olympian before the 2020 Olympics had their male weight classes cut, and we suspect he will be fast tracked in the pros. Manop, who has been stopped twice already, is not likely to see the final bell here.
Another debutant on this card is female fighter Sayo Segawa (0-0), who makes her debut against Watcharin Khodam (1-2, 1). The 22 year old Segawa is highly regarded and should pick up an easy win here, but is then likely to be raced to bigger and better fights over the coming year or two.
As well as the action in Tokyo there are also a number of Asian fighters in action in Moscow, Russia.
One of those is 33 year old Kazakh Ibragim Iskandarov (6-0, 6), who hasn't yet has his opponent named. Iskandarov is scheduled for his first 10 rounder so it's a real disappointment to not have his his opponent known about with a few days notice. This is his first bout since last December and if we're being honest his career so far has often been a frustrating and weird one.
The 21 year old Kazakh Galim Shagatay (4-0, 4) will take on unbeaten Georgian Pele Sadoyan (7-0-2, 3).The Kazakh youngster only turned professional in February this year but has taken out his first 4 foes in a combined 9 rounds. On the other hand Sadoyan, also aged 21, has been a professional since January 2017, and despite 3 draws in his first 5 is coming into this with 4 straight wins,
One other fighter of note in action here is Russian based Korean He Su Khan (6-4-1, 1), who takes on the unbeaten Vyacheslav Letovaltsev (4-0), a a 19 year old Russian. This should be a much more competitive bout than it looks on paper, and Khan is a lot better than his record suggests.
Jeonju, South Korea
Arguably the most interesting action this coming Saturday is in Korea, where we'll see the next Korea Vs Japan card, and it features so pretty interesting fighters.
A bout where the Korean will be favoured will see Ro Joon Suh (5-0, 2) take on Japanese visitor Ken Koibuchi (4-2, 3). The 20 year old Suh will be moving up from 4 round bouts for the first time, but he has looked good since turning professional in October 2017, though he does perhaps lack a bit of power. Koibuchi on the hand has got power, but can be out boxed, and was beaten last time out, losing in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final to Yusaku Sekishima.
A bout where the Korean will be the clear under-dog will see local fighter Jong Min Jung (9-8, 3) take on Japanese puncher Kai Chiba (9-1, 7). The local is a former "interim" PABA Featherweight champion who debuted way back in 2008 and struggled early on in his career, though is 5-1 (2) in his last 6 bouts. Chiba began his career 7-0 but was stopped this January by Brian Lobetania and hasn't quite refound his form, despite scoring two wins since then. At his best Chiba is a monster boxer-puncher, but we're not sure what his confidence is like at the moment.
A pretty interesting match up on this card will see Seung Yoon Shin (3-1-3, 1) take on Japanese novice Tatsumasa Abe (1-0, 1). The Korean 21 year old will be facing his first non-Korean opponent, and it's hard to read too much into his record, which has come against fellow domestic novices. Abe on the other hand was a stellar amateur, going 71-19 in the unpaid ranks, and is tipped as one to watch. Interestingly Abe debuted in Thailand in August and this will be a second bout outside of his homeland as he embarks on an unusual start to his career.
The main bout from the card isn't part of the Korea Vs Japan event, but is instead an All Korean 10 round contest and will pit Hyun Je Shin (9-8, 2) against Chan Young Kim (3-1-2, 1), with the two fighting for the Korean Super Featherweight title, BoxingM version. Shin is a former Korean title challenger at Flyweight, Super Flyweight and Super Featherweight, who is sadly 0-3 in title bouts. Despite the poor record in title bouts he does hold wins over Kazuki Sanpei and Daniel Ferreras. Kim on the other hand is a 20 year old who comes into the bout on the back of a good win against Hwan Oh Kim.
Gyeongju, South Korea
A second Korean show, from the KBA, will take place in Gyeoingju. Sadly this card is scarcely worth a mention, with the main event being a 6 round contest between Yi Fan Liu (3-0, 3) and Jong Bin Lim (4-0, 1). That's a good main event but there's no real big name to attract fans from the much better Korea Vs Japan card.
A second major show on the Asian front at least, is in China where we'll be getting a trio of title bouts.
The most notable bout on the card will see the exciting Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (14-2-1, 6), who has suffered competitive losses to Rikki Naito and Fredrick Lawson, taking on Venezuelan veteran Ernesto Espana (26-1-1, 21) in a bout for WBC International Light Welterweight title. The Chinese fighter is an aggressive warrior, who has got limitations but is a real handful, and is better at 140lbs than at 147lbs. Espana on the other hand is a 37 year old who has mostly fought awful competition, but in 2016 held Ruben Nieto to a draw in Spain and went the distance with the talented Yves Ulysse Jr earlier this year. We suspect the Chinese local will come out on top but Espana has shown enough to suggest this will not be an easy win for Baishanbo.
Another title bout on this card will see the unbeaten ZongLi He (4-0, 1) take on Filipino Vincent Astrolabio (12-2, 8) for the vacant WBO Oriental Youth Bantamweight title. He turned professional last year, but has stepped up quickly and claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title this past May when he defeated experienced Filipino Diarh Gabutan over 10 rounds. Astrolabio looked like a promising prospect a year ago, when he was 10-0, but losses to John Mark Apolinario and Yuki Strong Kobayashi leaves him needing a big performance. This is a really interesting match up, but one where the local will be favoured.
A third title bout on this card will see Casey Morton (7-0-3, 1) take on Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) for the WBO Asia Pacific Female Super Flyweight Title. The unbeaten Morton is an Hawaiian who is becoming a frequent fixture on the Asian scene, has recently fought twice in Thailand and once in China, scoring a good win this past March against Nongmuay Kokietgym in Paranque City, to claim the Flyweight version of this title. The Thai 20 year old has lost 2 of her last 4, and it's hard to really gauge how good she actually is from her competition and performances. A win for Jitpong would be her biggest win by some margin, whilst Morton has got a big win coming in to this bout.
One other bout of note on this card is contest between Qixiu Zhang (9-5-1, 3) and Karen Margaryan (3-0-1). The Chinese local is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Joe Noynay in the Philippines, whilst Russian based Armenian Margaryan is taking a marked step up and actually risking his unbeaten record.
We've also been informed that Ricky Sismundo (35-11-3, 17) will be in action on this show, against Chinese fighter Lei Wang (1-0, 1), who was a former WSB fighter before making his regular professional debut in September. This looks like being a really good fight, and a one that both fighters will believe they can win, though of course
In Canada we'll see Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (10-3-2, 2), fighting for the second time in Canada, take on Bence Molnar (18-8, 10). On paper this is a fantastic step up for Goyat, who will be fighting over 8 rounds, rather than the 4 rounds he fought last time. At 27 years old he has time to develop but it's hard to see him getting too far in the sport given how few Indian's have made a mark on the pro-scene, so far. Molnar on the other hand is an Hungarian journeyman, who has fought through most of Europe, and is notable for having gone 10 rounds with hard hitting Brit Lewis Ritson in 2016. This could be a very good test for Goyat and give his team a chance to really see what he's really about.
In Russia we're expecting to see a trio of Kazakh punchers in action, with Super Middleweight Ibragim Iskandarov (5-0, 5), Uzbek born Kazakh Cruiserweight Ualikan Bissengulov (7-0, 7) and American based Kazakh Yedil Kozhamberdiyev (5-2, 5), also a Cruiserweight, expected to be in action. Sadly their opponents haven't been announced.